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Deep-sea dread or delicacy: Giant Isopod’s culinary coup

In a move that has stirred up the culinary world, Taipei’s renowned ramen shop, “The Ramen Boy,” has made quite a splash by introducing an eyebrow-raising new dish, the “Giant Isopod Ramen”. This innovative creation, complete with a deep-sea giant isopod perched on top, has left the internet buzzing with intrigue, shock, and a dash of curiosity.

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In the bustling capital of Taiwan, known for its flavorful and diverse food scene, “The Ramen Boy” stands out, periodically introducing various limited-edition ramen dishes that consistently grab the spotlight. However, this time, they may have outdone themselves. The giant isopod, a denizen of the deep sea, is an ingredient few dare to work with, let alone spotlight in a dish.

Since its debut, this unique ramen has sparked considerable attention, and perhaps even a bit of culinary controversy. Social media reactions range from comparisons to large cockroaches to references to sci-fi creatures like the Predator or the Ohmu from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. However, beneath its alien-like exterior, the giant isopod hides a surprisingly delightful secret.

Giant isopod (大王具足蟲) ramen now available for a limited time in Taipei! Apparently it tastes like lobster but sweeter? I don't think I'm going to try it, even if I could reserve a spot (this has already gone viral) 🍜

Photos via TheRamenBoy (拉麵公子) on Facebook.

— Xander ✺ Spectral Codex (@spectralcodex) May 22, 2023

By carefully removing the stomach and internal organs, the white meat and glands of the Giant Isopod can be preserved for consumption. Chefs who have worked with this peculiar ingredient have been pleasantly surprised by the taste. Far from the expected sea-briny flavor, the isopod meat offers an unexpected combination of fresh sweetness and a tender, fluffy texture reminiscent of crab roe and crab paste.

This is not the first time in culinary history that an initially repelling creature has piqued the curiosity of gourmets. In fact, the story of the giant isopod has a fascinating parallel with that of the lobster, now a luxurious delicacy but once considered undesirable.

Lobsters were once so plentiful and cheap that they were often served to servants or prisoners, and there were even regulations against serving them more than thrice a week. Over time, however, lobsters have clawed their way up from being “the poor man’s protein” to one of the most sought-after delicacies in the world.

It’s a curious tale of changing culinary preferences and the ongoing evolution of gastronomic trends. Who knows? Perhaps the Giant Isopod, this underwater oddity, is about to embark on its own journey from being an alien-looking curiosity to a coveted ingredient in gourmet cuisine, much like its distant cousin, the lobster. In the grand theater of culinary delights, the stage seems set for the giant isopod’s debut. Will it be a standing ovation? Only time, and taste buds, will tell.

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